In 1997, Honda offered the very first Civic Type-R exclusively in Japan. Through the years, the Civic Type R gained plenty of power, sharper handling and even practicality. Rightfully Japan’s everyday supercar: They Civic Type R rightfully has the reputation for being the ultimate front-wheel drive performance car.
This third generation Civic Type-R interestingly had two models. Europeans received the FN2R, which was a pocket rocket that was designed with plenty spaceship elements. The Japanese however, hit the nail with the FD2R: A car that looks fast, big-winged and body-kitted. Not to mention, a reasonably useful four-door configuration too.
Adding onto the European’s jealousy is that the FD2R has a slightly more powerful engine – but given that the Europeans are overly critical of invisible elements from the exhaust, it’s not unreasonable that the venerable K had to be tuned differently to make the governments there happy.
Conceived to be a race car for the road, by race engineers who accept nothing less than perfection: The ride is relatively unforgiving and the engine that just begs to be rev-ed to the heavens.
Any Type-R is fast right out of the box, but going faster won’t hurt. For every engine, the key to unlocking more power is to decrease air intake resistance and temperature. In here, we find a Mugen intake system – which completely replaces the original intake system. Intake resonator removal skeptics, eat your heart out!
The rush of free flowing air is being made full use of by the a customised cams profile for more rapid, higher and longer valve opening, without throwing the engine into a rough idle synonymous with extreme cam profiles.
To further aid acceleration, this Type-R receives M Factory Gearing, with shorter ratios to keep the engine spinning at the sweet spot for the perfect amount of acceleration in any gear. Of course, to fully enjoy the Honda experience, one must have an exhaust note to company it. Enter the Toda, which fills the cabin with a bassy note to complement the sharp scream of the K20 engine. After driven countless of manual cars, everything is a distant second when it comes to Honda’s shifter feel, in this case, the satisfying metal clink further enhanced by the Mugen Short Throw shift kit.
While the factory suspension has been tuned for a good compromise between street and track use, nothing opens up a world of tuning possibilities such as the an aftermarket coilover. In this case: The D2 Super Racing 3 Way allows fine tuning of compression and rebound independently, essential for cutting lines across the Sepang rumble strips – and for achieving a nicer daily drive.
While the suspension does its best to keep the wheels stuck on the ground, the wheel/tyre package was made as light as possible, with the addition of super light wheels from Japan and extreme performance tyres. The original brake setup, with the addition of good pads, is well enough for a good few laps around the circuit, but the hoses were changed to braided ones to remove the spongy pedal feel. A bit more aggressive camber was dialed in with the Hardrace camber kit for a more even camber setting all round.
No flamboyant exterior to speak of, unless you consider a matte paint job as flamboyant. Withe the “Designo Selenite Grey Magno” colour choice, the other outstanding exterior modification is the genuine Mugen RR Carbon Kelvar Bonnet – Saves weight and looks trick too.
Being the family man and adult racer, the interior has to be kept “as stock as possible” to please the parents – But of course, gauges for water, oil, pressure… no hardcore trackie can live without those!
To mod or to keep stock? Enthusiasts are still split by the opinions on modifying a Japanese gem. The Civic Type R is built on years of Japanese engineering, but nothing will ever stop the few who go out of the way to make it a little better.
Honda Civic Type-R
Mugen Original Airbox
N2CS Customize Cams
Mugen Short Throw Shifter
M Factory Gearing
Full Kit Toda Exhaust
D2 Super Racing 3 WaySetup Coilover
Enkei RPF 1 Original
Bridgestone RE71R Tyres
APP Stainless Steel Brake Hose
Hardrace Camber Kit
Designo Selenite Grey Magno painto
Mugen RR Carbon Kevlar Bonnet